Monday, March 26, 2007

Electricity Generation By Source

In an earlier post, I noted that about 40% of CO2 emissions is from electric power generation. I also provided some interesting graphs comparing electric power generation from the U.S. with China, India, and the OECD.

In this post, I will provide detailed graphs comparing electricity generation in the U.S. with a few key countries. I was motivated by a friend's question regarding how other countries are addressing their energy and environmental problems. In particular, are there countries who are using substantial amounts of energy from alternative sources, as part of a diverse energy portfolio?

Rather than selecting the "benchmark" countries based on their CO2 emissions per capita, I picked countries based on anecdotes I have heard in the past. Hopefully these are graphs you can use in your (slide) presentations. The bar graphs measure the amount of electricity (as measured by the % of total Gigawatts) from a particular energy source (horizontal axis). Data is from the International Energy Agency:

(To enlarge a particular image, click on it.)
The above graph compares the U.S. with three, somewhat arbitrarily chosen, European & Asian countries:
  • Germany is reputed to be the largest market for Solar PV products.
  • Denmark has a reputation for being energy efficient and for using a lot of Wind Energy.
  • France made a conscious decision in the early 1970s to support Nuclear Energy.
  • China & India are the world's largest countries and fastest-growing economies.
  • Japan is the second largest economy in the world, and has a reputation for being the among the most energy efficient countries.
The graph shows that between Nuclear and Hydro energy, France generates 90% of all its electricity. In a previous post, I already noted that China and India rely heavily on coal. There is talk of China and India relying less on coal, and in the case of India, more on Nuclear Energy. Given their current level of dependence on Coal, it remains to be seen how quickly China and India can diversify their energy portfolios. While Japan uses only 27% Coal, compared to the U.S. it relies more on Nuclear (26%), Natural Gas (23%), and Hydroelectric (10%) power.

In the graph below, we "zoom in" to highlight "alternative" sources of electricity. Note that "Other" includes Wind Energy:

Denmark generated 16% from (Wind and) "Other" sources. From the above graph, it is clear that, in terms of their use of alternative energy, Germany and Denmark are way ahead of the U.S., France and the three Asian countries. Besides (Wind and) Other sources, Denmark generates substantially more electricity from Biomass and Waste than the other countries. I was definitely expecting Japan to show stronger dependence on alternative energy sources, than the U.S.

By "zooming in" further, we see that Germany did generate a large amount of electricity from Solar PV/Thermal compared to the other countries:

Even in Germany, Solar Energy accounted for less than one-tenth of one percent of total electricity generation. While Germany is a large market for Solar PV, the U.S. is a larger market for promising Solar Thermal technologies. Given that Japan is another large market for Solar PV products, I have questions about the accuracy of the data for Japan.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

India's Renewable Energy Sector and Green Energy Index Unaffected by Global Economic Slowdown

November 21, Bangalore: The global slowdown can be a tempting excuse for most to put ecological concerns on the furlough. But India is moving purposefully towards sustainable development, understanding the fierce urgency for economically sound, socially equitable and environmentally responsible progress.

At a time when renewables comprise just 11.5% of energy source in the United States, India stands tall with renewables accounting for 32% of total electricity generation capacity. Even China and Japan trail behind India at 21 and 20 per cent respectively. Recent reports suggest the share of renewables in the Indian electricity basket is expected to rise to 15 per cent by 2030 from less than five per cent currently.

For developing countries like India, the global slowdown is an avenue for replacing archaic infrastructures and upgrading and building transportation, communication, energy and water systems in a sustainable manner. "The flip side of the coin is the enormous economic, social and environmental benefits likely to arise from combating climate change and re-investing in natural infrastructure - benefits ranging from new green jobs in clean tech and clean energy businesses up to ones in sustainable agriculture and conservation-based enterprises," says UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, in a bid to offer up a sustainable solution for the current global crisis.

Former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore agrees. In a recent article in the New York Times, Al Gore is quoted as saying, "The bold steps that are needed to solve the climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis". And India is listening.

The massive opportunity India offers to deploy finance and technologies to create clean energy products and services, which can leapfrog those employed in Western countries, has not gone unnoticed by the investor and business community and the government, says Dilip Thomas, Steering Committee Member/Program Chair & CEO of Saltmarch Media, the organizers of Green Energy Summit ( ), India’s first and biggest forum for Green Energy, Clean Technology and Renewable Energy stakeholders.

The Indian state of Karnataka, for instance, has set itself a target of generating 5,450 Mw of renewable energy resources in the state by 2012 and 11700 Mw by 2018. K Jairaj, Principal Secretary of the State's Energy Department, and a member of the Green Energy Summit organizing team, has said plans are on to unveil a new renewable energy policy in early 2009, to boost energy production and consumption in the state. Jairaj says the policy aims at creating appropriate channels to collaborate with industry, supporting innovative technology, production and services, providing decentralised energy supply to agriculture, industry and households, strengthening the grid system and creating SEZs to promote renewable energy.

The oft-repeated statement that subsidy-dependent Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) are not sustainable for the long term have lessened. Tulsi R Tanti, chairman and managing director, Suzlon Energy, recently noted that innovation and technology are rapidly reducing development costs. Two years ago Suzlon was producing power [wind] at Rs. 5 per Kwh. In 2008 the cost has come down to Rs 3.5 per Kwh and it is set to come down by another rupee if the rate of progress continues.

Barack Obama's election as the president of the United States is also expected to give a fillip to India's renewable energy plans. The 44th US President believes the US should be involved in partnerships with developing countries, such as India and China, to provide funding and access to intellectual property that they need and desire. The President-elect understands that tackling the global challenge of climate change requires US leadership, and has reconfirmed his campaign promise to invest $15 billion a year in low-carbon energy, including solar, wind, nuclear and next-generation biofuels.

India has many RE laurels to its credit, says Dr. Arcot Ramachandran, chairperson of Green Energy Summit 2009 and Former UN Under Secretary General. It has the world’s largest decentralized solar energy program, ranks second in the global renewable energy “Attractiveness Index” poll, operates the world’s 2nd largest biogas program, ranks 4th as a global 'Wind Super Power' and fifth in the world in terms of exploitable hydro electricity generation.

With the Indian market heating up while others worlwide freeze over, be seen, be heard and be noticed in India's first summit completely focused on what going green can do for you and your organisation. Green Energy Summit 2009 is a world-class forum for varied stakeholders from solar, wind, biomass, IT, transport, biofuels, construction, aviation, nanotechnology and biotechnology to make their presence felt and attract attention that matters. The summit will be held March 3-7 2009 in Bangalore, India.

GES 2009 is supported by Govt. of India (DST), MNRE, WCRE, IREDA, BEE, Govt. of Karnataka and several other governmental and bi-lateral agencies. Confirmed speakers include Jairam Ramesh (Minister of State for Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Power, Government of India), Dr. R K Pachauri, Dr. Hermann Scheer (President, World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) and EUROSOLAR), Dr. Jamshed J. Irani (Director, TATA Sons Limited), Pramod Deo (Chairperson, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission), Dr. Dan Arvizu (Director, NREL), Michael T. Eckhart (President, ACORE), H.E. Clini Corrado (Director General, Ministry for the Environment Land and Sea, Italy and Chair, Global Bioenergy Partnership), Christopher Flavin (President, World Watch Institute), Marianne Osterkorn (REEEP - Director General), Mohamed El Ashry (Chairman REN21), Dr. Yogi Goswami (Former President, ISES) and Thomas B. Johansson (Director, IIIEE & Co-recipient, Nobel Peace Prize, 2007).

For further information on GES 2009, please visit the summit on the web

A Saltmarch Media Press Release
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